Advancements in the field of cosmetic surgery coupled with a rise of unrealistic beauty standards fuelled by social media platforms, has triggered a race among human beings to keep up, even if it means going under the knife. But this desire for picture perfect looks seems to have spilt over into the animal kingdom, and the Middle East’s most iconic creature the camel has become the lab-rat for a new scientific trend.
Camels have been used for races in the UAE and neighbouring countries for ages, and recently robotic jockeys were mounted onto these desert voyagers to protect humans. But now a new fad of camel beauty pageants is gaining ground in the UAE, and rich Emiratis eager to flaunt the most majestic herd, are seeking scientific assistance to gain an edge over each other.
Professionals at the Reproductive Biotechnology Clinic in Dubai are working extra hours to keep up with a rising demand for camels cloned from the best beats among the lot. Clients continue to flood the facility with specific requirements for a long neck, or lips and other features that stand out during competitions.
Although many are paying amounts as high as AED400,000 to recreate a good-looking camel, there are still contestants caught using Botox and fillers on animals, at contests where they are paraded on dusty tracks. The demand for healthier camels of certain breeds has led to dozens being churned out of cloning clinics, over a decade after Dubai created the first desert beast using this method.
But it isn’t all about looks, as the rising popularity of camel milk on a global scale, has also led to the creatures being designed to produce dairy in higer quantities. The facility in Dubai is currently delivering racing champs and milk production powerhouses, but is now scrambling to keep up with the demand for beauty queens.
Over the past few years, camels have handled various roles, including that of a photography assistant in Saudi Arabia, where it was mounted with a camera to capture remote regions.